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FOOTBALL 101 -- POSITIONS


OFFENSE

 

Center -- The offensive lineman who “hikes” (or snaps) the ball to the quarterback between his legs at the start of each offensive play. The center lines up in the middle of the offensive line, between the offensive guards.

 

Fullback -- A fullback is a player who lines up in the offensive backfield and is generally responsible for blocking for the halfback (on the run) and blocking for the quarterback (so he can pass the ball without getting hit). Fullbacks are usually bigger than halfbacks, and also serve as runners to gain short yards.

 

Halfback, Running Back -- A halfback is a player who lines up in the backfield and is generally responsible for carrying the ball on plays that run the ball. A running back's basic role is to run with the football, and sometimes he is used as a receiver.

 

Offensive Guard -- There are two guards on every offensive play, and they line up on either side of the center.

 

Offensive Tackle -- There are two tackles on every offensive play, and they line up on the outside of the offensive guards.

 

Quarterback -- The quarterback is usually the player in charge of running the offense on the field and during the huddle, he usually tells the offense what play to run next.  The quarterback receives the ball from the center at the beginning of each play (the “snap”) before either handing it off to a running back, throwing it to a receiver, or running with it

 

Tight End -- The tight end serves as a receiver and also as a blocker. The tight end lines up beside the offensive tackle either to the right or to the left of the quarterback.

 

Wide Receiver -- The wide receiver lines up at or near the line of scrimmage and his basic job is to catch passes thrown by the quarterback.

 

 

 

DEFENSE

 

Defensive End -- The defensive end is a player who lines up at the end of the defensive line. The job of the defensive end is to contain the running back on plays that run to the outside, and to “rush” the quarterback on passing plays.

 

Defensive Tackle –-- The defensive tackle is a player who lines up on the inside of the defensive line. The defensive tackle’s job is to stop the running back on running plays, put pressure on the middle on passing plays, and occupy blockers to free up the linebackers.

 

Nose Tackle, Nose Guard  -- The nose tackle/nose guard is a player who lines up directly across from the center. The nose tackle/nose guard stops the run and occupies the offensive lineman to keep them from blocking the linebackers.

 

Linebacker -- A linebacker is a defensive player who lines up between the defensive linemen and the defensive backfield. The linebackers are a team's second line of defense. Each team has two outside linebackers. In a 4-3 defense, teams have one inside linebacker, usually referred to as a middle linebacker. In a 3-4 defense teams have two inside linebackers.

 

Cornerback -- A cornerback is a defensive player who generally lines up on the outside of the formation and is usually assigned to cover a wide receiver.

 

Safety -- A defensive back who lines up in the secondary between -- but generally deeper -- than the cornerbacks.  The safety’s job includes helping the cornerbacks in pass coverage.

 


SPECIAL TEAMS

 

Gunner -- Gunners specialize in racing downfield to tackle the kick or punt returner. The gunners usually line up on the outside of the offensive line and are often double-teamed by blockers.

 

Holder -- The holder catches the snap from the center and places it on the tee for the kicker to attempt to kick it through the uprights of the goalpost.  On an attempted field goal, the holder must catch the ball and put it into a good kicking position, ideally with the laces facing away from the kicker.

 

Kicker -- The kicker kicks the ball on kickoffs, extra point attempts, and field goal attempts. A kicker either kicks the ball while it's being held by a teammate or kicks it off a tee.

 

Kick Returner -- A kick returner catches kickoffs and attempts to run them in the opposite direction. He is usually one of the faster players on the team, often a reserve wide receiver.

 

Punter -- The punter stands behind the line of scrimmage, catches the long snap from the center, and then kicks the ball after dropping it toward his foot. The punter generally comes in on fourth down to punt the ball to the other team with the idea of driving the other team as far back as possible before they take possession of the ball.

 

Punt Returner -- The a punt returner catches the ball after it has been punted and runs it back toward the punting team's end zone.

 

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